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FIRE FEATURE


“A lot of the bigger sites - the large, multi-process sites - are already being covered. However, there are thousands of waste transfer stations out there that are relatively small but still posing considerable risks with multiple waste streams including gas cylinders and lithium iron batteries, so how that waste is stored and processed is very important. So we’re seeing a real push by the Environment Agency (EA) for FPPs to become more and more widely applied.”


FPPs have come under fire [really? – Ed] recently, not only for being complicated, but for being open to interpretation, leaving business owners who are not necessarily versed in EA terminology open to making costly errors.


“You do need someone who understands the language of the EA," added Russell. "Unfortunately, because of the decentralised approach from the EA, one inspection officer in one part of the country can have a very different interpretation of that guidance to another.


with the advice and information required to reduce the likelihood and frequency of fires and reduce the safety, health, environmental, property damage and business interruption impact when fire does occur.”


“Fire Prevention Plans (FPP) really are becoming more prevalent now,” added Russell. “We have seen in the wood recycling industry a real effort to get some clarity so that wood recyclers are able to properly understand the requirements for their FPPs. We haven’t seen that yet across other waste streams but that’s what I expect to see come into play very soon.


“Where we specialise is in being able to take the EA’s guidance and then design a solution that we can justify and walk through with both the EA and the insurer.”


Made to measure With each company site having its own particular fire risks, danger zones and setups, it is vital that its fire prevention system is likewise unique.


“It’s important to remember that not all automatic fire suppression systems are the same,” explained Ed. "When considering fire suppression protection for your assets, you need to make sure it has been designed and tested to meet the demands of the equipment it’s protecting. So for example, for plant machinery, that means


it needs to be able to withstand extreme vibration, ageing and corrosion. That’s why accreditations should do the talking; we’re passionate about fire safety, so for us it’s important to educate customers on what they need to demand of the systems they’re investing in so that they can have 100% confidence that it will protect against fire.


“All fire protection systems and the extinguishing agents they use will have their preferred applications. Many systems will be able to cover a wide range of fire classifications such as Class A, B and C fires. However, that doesn’t mean that as long as that extinguishing agent is used you will have adequate protection. There are many factors at play that can drastically affect the performance such as: how is the fire detected, how is the agent delivered, and the configuration of the protected hazard, to name a few.


“The only way to ensure that the risk has the correct level of protection is to have a Risk Assessment carried out by a competent person and seek advice from reputable fire protection supplier.”


“I think quite often in our sector,” added Russell, “the first point of consideration in terms of fire safety is to actually establish with the client what the specification is and who is driving this requirement, as there can be a number of stakeholders involved. These can include government agencies such as the EA or local authorities, and an insurer - although insurers often aren’t clear on the proposed solutions and look to specialists like us to provide those.


“Quite often we can visit a site and the risks that we have been asked to provide a solution for are not, in our opinion, the highest risk on that site. The operator,


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